Share this article

print logo

GANASSI, PENSKE GOING FOR DAILY DOUBLE

Chip Ganassi straddled his chair backward, settling in for a chat with NASCAR's top leaders. In Winston Cup just over two years now, Ganassi is beginning to feel at home.

One of the top car owners in open-wheel racing, Ganassi has made a successful entrance into NASCAR and is looking for a banner day today in both series.

He's got an excellent chance to win the Indianapolis 500 with either Scott Dixon or Tomas Scheckter. Today, he'll be at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where either Sterling Marlin or rookie Jamie McMurray could challenge in the Coca-Cola 600 (5 p.m., Ch. 29).

"I feel pretty good about our chances in Indy, we've got two good cars," Ganassi said. "I think winning Charlotte will be a taller order, because in speed, we have some catching up to do. But it's a long race and if we rely on race craft, we can get up front."

No car owner has ever won both of the Memorial Day weekend races on the same day, although Ganassi and Roger Penske both will be trying today.

And no driver has ever done it, but Robby Gordon will try for the fourth time to race all 1,100 miles.

All three will be making a mad dash for North Carolina minutes after the Indy 500 ends -- assuming there is no Victory Lane celebration.

Penske probably has the best chance to pull off the sweep, although he fell short the past two years when Helio Castroneves won in Indy, but NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman came up empty.

Penske will try again with Castroneves and Newman sitting on both poles.

Although Ganassi's cars aren't on the front row of either race, he's just as confident as Penske is about his chances.

"I know what we have in Indy, and I know what we can have in Charlotte," Ganassi said. "It's not impossible to pull it off."

It's that aggressive attitude that has gotten Ganassi to the top so quickly. Since buying a majority stake of Felix Sabates' team before the 2001 season, Ganassi has turned Marlin into a championship contender, found two fresh young faces in McMurray and rookie Casey Mears, and won five races.

He also joined Penske in August 2001 as the only car owner to win in two series on the same day when Bruno Junqueria won the CART race and Marlin won in NASCAR.

Ganassi was at the CART race that day, and barely able to celebrate Junqueria's victory because he was at the hospital tending to another one of his drivers' injuries.

But he was able to listen to the last 15 minutes of Marlin's win on the radio, and flew into Michigan for the celebration shortly after.

"It was the highest of highs and also one of the lowest days," Ganassi said.

NASCAR newcomer Kyle Busch got "Buschwhacked" by Matt Kenseth, the Winston Cup points leader, who took the lead on the last restart and cruised to victory in Saturday's Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

In the Carquest Auto Parts 300, Kenseth used a veteran's experience to beat Busch as the race came off its final caution flag on Lap 171 of 200.

Busch, an 18-year-old making his debut, took only two tires to Kenseth's four during the caution.

The race finished under caution as Greg Biffle spun out in Turn 4 with four laps to go. That secured Kenseth's second series win of the season. He won the Busch race at California Speedway in April.

There are no comments - be the first to comment